Rock the Block! Stay close to home and keep moving on Election Day with a Stay Healthy Block: Election Edition

Photo Credit: Tiffany Tertipes on Unsplash.

Like most things in 2020, election day will also look different this year. After dropping off your ballot on election day (if you haven’t already, 63% of King County has!), we encourage you to stay close to home.  

Perhaps you already have plans to take part in a lively video call with family and friends or else just plan to stay in and watch the results with your household. With King County still in Phase Two of the Governor’s Safe Start plan and cases rising in our region, we encourage you to stay at home and follow public health guidance. 

If you want to venture out of your living room on election day (or help your kids burn off some excess energy after a long day of remote school), our Stay Healthy Block permit can help you get outside with your family while staying physically distant. (See how to set one up below!)

For November 3 – Election Day – we’ve added a registration-only option so you can try out a Stay Healthy Block on your street. If you like it, we have a free permit option that allows you to close your block to through-traffic through November 30! (Read more about our Stay Healthy Blocks, which support Seattle residents/groups to temporarily close blocks to through-traffic, in this blog and on our website.) 

“Throughout 2020, SDOT has been presented with unprecedented challenges, but also numerous opportunities to creatively rethink the ways we use our streets and sidewalks to make communities safer, more livable, and economically secure in the face of hardship. With Rock the Block, we’re building on our Stay Healthy Blocks to again present safe, innovative ways to safely experience community. Thousands of Seattleites have exercised their democratic right to vote and will continue doing so over the next few days. As we balance this historic moment with the challenges of COVID-19, we hope our free program for families and neighbors to close their block, get outdoors, and be active together at safe distances eases stress.” – Sam Zimbabwe, Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Stay Healthy Blocks: Election Edition are a chance to get outside with your family and neighbors while staying physically distanced. Election activities are optional. Here are some ways you could spend the afternoon and evening:  

  • Host a movie night: Keep in mind that the screen cannot be in the 20-foot fire lane, and chairs should be set up to allow for safe distance between you and your neighbors.  
  • Enjoy dinner from a distance: Take your chairs and plates outside, and eat out front, at least six feet away from your neighbors for a 2020 take on the neighborhood BBQ! It’s also Seattle Restaurant Week, and residents planning to stay home and stay healthy during Election Day can order takeout or delivery from participating Seattle restaurants. Learn more here
  • Set up a socially-distanced scavenger hunt for kids (or adults!): Hide leftover Halloween candy or other fun treats for others to find. 
  • Unleash your inner artist using sidewalk chalk: Create your own street art – you can even use some existing Seattle street art for inspiration
  • Get glowing: Hand out glow sticks to neighborhood kids to make spending time outdoors at dusk a little more colorful and visible. 

Here’s how to Rock the Block. Set up your own Election Edition Block by following the steps below!


Step 1: Vote! 


You can vote and return your ballot as soon as you receive it by mail. Return your ballot to a ballot drop box (no stamp required). Your ballot must be returned to a ballot drop box by 8 PM on Election Day – November 3, 2020. Plan ahead to avoid lines, or be prepared if there are. Read more about returning your ballot

As part of the continued effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, King County Elections strongly recommends registering to vote,  updating your registration , and accessing your ballot online when needed. Vote Centers are open for those who need assistance or have missed the deadlines. Vote centers are available to register new voters, update current voter records, obtain a voter registration card and to provide assistance to voters who need help completing their ballot. Trained staff and specialized equipment are available to help voters with disabilities cast a private, independent ballot. If you go to a Vote Center, you are required to wear a face covering that covers your nose and mouth. 

Please email elections@kingcounty.gov or call 206-296-VOTE (8683) if you need additional assistance. 


Step 2: Plan 


Make sure your Election Edition Block is: 

  • No greater than one block long and does not include an intersection. 
  • Not in an urban center.   
  • Not within 3 blocks of a ballot box
  • On a non-arterial street. 
    • You can find your street type using this map, which shows non-arterials as grey and arterials in other colors. 
    • Tip: If there is no line—dotted or solid—running along the middle of the street, it’s most likely a non-arterial street.  
  • Not on a street that buses run on.  
  • Occurs any time between 12 – 9 PM, including setup and cleanup. If going past 5 PM, use retroreflective materials. (See Step 5 for information on retroreflective materials.) 
  • Intended for neighbors in the immediate area 

Step 3: Tell your neighbors  


Tell the neighbors on the proposed block in advance so they know it’s happening and what hours to expect the street to be closed. You can use these printable fliers to notify neighbors.  


Step 4: Register 


There is no formal application process for Election Edition Blocks. Please use this form to register your block. You’ll need to provide your name, address, the block you are closing, and your email. 


Step 5: Prepare to Close the Street  


(Complete this step if your street is NOT already a Stay Healthy Street. If it’s on an existing Stay Healthy Street, your Election Edition Block does not require any additional signage or barricades described in this step!) 

Provide barricades and signs for your street closure. Use this template to help you set up your barricades and signs in the appropriate places.   

Barricade Basics:  

  • At the ends of your closure, install barricades 3 – 6 feet apart.  
  • Place barricades behind the extension of the sidewalk to make it easy for people to cross the street  
  • If you are adjacent to an arterial street, you must use Type 3 barricades (a quick internet search will show you some places to rent Type 3 barricades).  
  • If you are adjacent a non-arterial street, you may use Type 2 barricades or household items like personal trash bins or furniture that are at least 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.  
  • See examples of Type 2 and Type 3 barricades at the top of our template.  

Signs, too! 

  • Install a “STREET CLOSED” sign at the center of the street.   
  • The required “STREET CLOSED” sign measures 36″ x 24″. Here is a PDF version of the sign that you can either print yourself or at a print shop. If you’re not printing at a print shop and don’t have a printer that can print on this scale, you can still print this PDF, but will need to assemble the sign. You can find  instructions on how to print the sign for assembly here.  
  • Post King County Public Health signs at the entrances on either side of the street closure. 
  • Make or print informational signs to inform others why the street is closed.  
  • Tips for Placing Signs: Signs should be placed between 3 and 6 feet high to be easily visible to drivers. Maintain an 11-foot wide opening for local traffic to enter and exit the street and a 20-foot wide fire lane free of obstructions; and keep sidewalks open for people walking and rolling. 

If your Election Edition Block will end after 5 p.m., you need retroreflective materials so the barricades are visible after dusk.   

  • If using Type 3 barricades: These are already retroreflective.   
  • If using Type 2 barricades or household items: This is relevant if you are adjacent to a non-arterial street. In this case, you can use Type 2 barricades or household items.   
  • If using household items: They must be marked with retroreflective tape. You can still use the standard Street Closed sign; feel free to outline it in tape if you’d like! Household items must have a minimum of two 3” retroreflective bands on all sides, placed 2” from the top of the item and then a maximum of 6” between the bands. Please reach out to publicspace@seattle.gov, or 206-684-ROAD for any questions or help.  
  • Example of a household recycle bin with retroreflective tape on it.  

Step 6: Set Up Your Election Edition Block 


  • Close off your street by setting up your barricades and signs from Step 5. Note that at all times, local access, deliveries, waste pickup, and emergency vehicles are allowed.   
  • If you’re the host for the Election Edition Block, you’re responsible for ensuring compliance with the Governor’s Safe Start phased reopening plan and public health guidance.   
  • Follow the City of Seattle noise ordinance, Seattle Fire Department regulations, and Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board regulations as well. Don’t forget the 20′ fire lane and make sure that emergency vehicles can get through the street closure if needed.  

Please continue to follow public health guidance at all times. While using your block: 

Election Edition blocks should not result in crowding. They’re designed for you and your immediate neighbors.  

Remain with members of your household and make sure to maintain physical distance from non-household members.   

Wear cloth face coverings and wash your hands often! Bring hand sanitizer to use while you are out with your household members.  

If you are at an Election Edition block and it seems crowded and you may not be able to easily maintain physical distance, you may want to come back later or go somewhere else.   


Step 7: Take down your Election Edition Block  


Take down all traffic barricades and signage by 5 PM (or 9 PM if you are using retroreflective materials) on November 3, 2020. 

Did you enjoy the Rock the Block? We’d love to know! Send us an email to publicspace@seattle.gov.